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Ed W. Freeman
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Hero
    (November 20, 1927-August 20, 2008)
    Born in Neely, Mississippi
    U.S. Army helicopter pilot
    Volunteered to evacuate wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War's Battle of Ia Drang (November 14, 1965)
    Flew 14 missions in 14 hours, delivered ammunition, supplies and rescued 30 wounded soldiers
    Received the Medal of Honor from George W. Bush at a White House ceremony (July 16, 2001)
    Portrayed by Mark McCracken in the 2002 Vietnam War film 'We Were Soldiers'
    Died of complications from Parkinson's disease in Boise, Idaho at age 80
    After two years in the U.S. Navy he switched to the Army.
    He tried to become a pilot during the Korean War, but at 6 feet, 4 inches he was considered too tall for pilot duty.
    Like the famous football player (also named Ed), the nickname 'Too Tall' stuck with him.
    During his fateful mission he said he remembers nervously eating franks and beans and chain-smoking Vantage cigarettes - 'God knows how many I smoked, 'til I had a blister on my tongue.'
    Though eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery, he chose to be buried at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery
    He was a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, rising to the rank of captain.
    In 1955 the Army rescinded its height restriction for pilot training, and he immediately signed up for flight school.
    Medivac copters would not go into the fierce battlefield, and when volunteers were needed he was the only one of 40 pilots that was willing to 'fly into Hell.'
    His copter, unarmed and lightly armored, was hit several times by enemy fire, but he got 30 wounded men out that would have died were it not for his bravery.
    His commanding officer didn't nominate him for the Medal of Honor in time to meet a then two-year deadline, so he settled for the Distinguished Flying Cross.
    After retiring from the Army he settled in Boise and worked for the Department of the Interior, using his helicopter to fight wildfires, perform animal censuses and herd wild horses (until retiring in 1991).
    It took nearly 36 years for all the paperwork to be ironed out and him to receive his Medal of Honor (the first one handed out by Bush).
    At the White House ceremony he said of his mission, 'What some people think is above and beyond the call of duty does not coincide with what I think. I did what I was supposed to do.'

Credit: Scar Tactics


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